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A Message from Andy Dunks "At a Loss for Words"


A Message from the Reverend Andy Dunks

At a Loss for Words

Like all of you, I am still stunned at the unexpected death of Mike Oglesby on Monday evening. He was such an integral part of our church family that it is hard for me to even imagine St. Bartholomew's without him. And I say this knowing that my sense of loss is but a small fraction of that felt by his family, and by those of you who have been his friends for decades. There are already many moving and eloquent tributes on Facebook and in reply to the pastoral notice email sent from the church this afternoon, and as I have visited the family I have seen laughter and joy amidst the tears as they shared memories of their life with Mike - all evidence of a life well-lived and full of God's grace. 

These words of St. Paul's, penned as he contemplated his own impending death, also ring true as an apt appraisal of Mike Oglesby's life in Christ:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. - (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

And yet gratitude for Mike's earthly life and his continuing life in Christ does very little to diminish the sense of loss that will be keenly felt for quite some time. The Psalmist assures us, from his own lived experience, that God can and does reveal Himself in the turmoil of grief. We need not fear death, nor need we fear the power of our own emotions:

God is our refuge and strength, *
    a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
    and though the mountains be toppled into the
                             depths of the sea;

Though its waters rage and foam, *
    and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.

The Lord of hosts is with us;*

     the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

(Psalm 46:1-4) 


My expectant prayer is that the Oglesby family finds these words to be true in the days ahead, and that we as their brothers and sisters in Christ will do all in our power to uphold them.

Michael J. Oglesby obituary from The Richmond Times-Dispatch
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